Nina Sharma, MADD program manager and Lindsey Valdez, MADD’s state executive director outlined the functions of the statewide DWI organization during a virtual meeting Tuesday with the Eddy County DWI Program Council.
“The purpose was to let DWI Advisory Council members know what services MADD provides and the programs they support,” said Eddy County DWI Program Director Cindy Sharif.
Based in Albuquerque, Sharma said MADD’s played a role in fighting drunk driving and supporting victims of drunk driving for more than 40 years across the United States.
“We provide statewide services with every county. We are here to assist in anyway we can with victim’s services and just providing whatever sources we have available,” she said.
Since MADD’s founding in 1980, Sharma said drunk driving deaths across the nation were cut by 53 percent, 340,000 lives have been saved and more than 820,000 victims have been helped.
“We’ve done a lot and there’s always more that can be done. Which is why we are grateful to be in these communities. In your communities just sharing our services and doing whatever we can to help victims,” she said.
Sharma said local initiatives and raising awareness are two ways MADD wants to decrease the number of DWI victims.
She said MADD’s local initiatives like victim’s services, victim impact panels, youth and underage drinking prevention, court monitoring programs and policy and legislation are part of the strategy to fight DWI in New Mexico.
“Our victims services which is the fulcrum of what we do at MADD covers three areas. We have emotional support for the victim, guidance through court systems and helping victims and survivors find community resources,” Sharma said.
“We have served over 2,000 victims here in New Mexico over the past three years,” she added.
Valdez said events like walks, candlelight vigils and law enforcement support are some ways MADD raises awareness in New Mexico.
“It (impaired driving) touches all 33 counties of our state,” she said.
Sharif said Eddy County DWI Program wasn’t interested in forming MADD organization in Carlsbad at this time.
“But if one is formed, we will support their efforts. In past years Eddy County did have a local MADD chapter and Mak Walker was the president. We worked closely with the local chapter,” she said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.